The 2016 Fare Announcement


The 12th November saw the Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, announced the fares levels that will apply to TfL services and National Rail services within the TfL zonal area from 2nd January 2016.

The Mayoral Decision document sets out the background and reasoning for the fares changes. Full details of TfL fare and season ticket prices are in the Fares Direction Letter. The TfL briefing document to the Mayor has also now been published and can be found online here.

The main fares headlines are as follows:-

As expected fares are increasing by 1%, which was the RPI value for July 2015. This is in line with commitments made during the 2015 General Election by the Mayor and other leading Conservative Party politicians.

Travelcard prices are jointly set with National Rail meaning those prices typically increase by 0.9%.

There are no major structural changes to the product range this year. The revised set of Daily Caps has been retained. There are changes to the pricing of Peak Daily Caps for stations in Zones 7 to 9 with reductions being made to bring the pricing logic into line with the 1/5th of the 7 day Travelcard price principle used in Zones 1 to 6.

The fares yield for TfL is expected to be £43m of which the Tube contributes £30m, Buses £10m and TfL Rail £3m.

The PAYG / Contactless Oyster Bus and Tram Fare will be frozen at £1.50. There is no longer a cash fare for buses. The cash Tram fare increases by 10p to £2.60. The Daily Bus and Tram Cap increases by 10p to £4.50. The 7 day Bus and Tram Pass rises by 20p to £21.20 (a 0.9% increase). The One Day Bus and Tram pass, introduced last year, has its price frozen at £5.00.

There is no change to the concessions for child travel on buses and trams. One notable change this year, however, is the extension of the free travel concession for children between 5 and 10 years of age to all National Rail services in Greater London. To fund this TfL are paying the TOCs an extra £0.5m per annum. Children aged 5 to 10 years old will need to have a Zip card to qualify for free travel on TOC services. This is slightly different to the policy position with TfL, where children accompanied by an adult travel free regardless of whether they hold a Zip card.

PAYG fares for the TfL tariff, which applies to Tube, DLR, Overground and certain National Rail routes, are frozen this year with the exception of the Z1 peak and off peak and Z12 off peak fares that increase by 10p from £2.30 to £2.40. This continues the long term trend of pricing up the most congested parts of the network. Off peak non Z1 PAYG fares are unchanged.

The composite PAYG tariff for travellers on the West Anglia / Shenfield lines sees similar increases to those on the normal TfL tariff. This tariff came into being when TfL took control of the West Anglia and Shenfield line commuter services in May 2015. Point to point season tickets will increase in price while the PAYG fares to Liverpool St (NR) from stations on these routes are frozen. Fares to Shenfield are set by Abellio Greater Anglia and are not known at the time of writing.

The National Rail PAYG tariff sees increases for both peak and off peak travel. Fares increase by 10p for all zone combinations. Through Tube and Train PAYG fares into or through Zone 1 only increase by 10p peak and off peak. The operators have frozen the “add on” fare element for Zone 1 for 2016. The Zones 1 to 6 Tube / Train peak fare rises to £7.70 which will also become the new peak “entry / exit charge” for PAYG for missed touch in or touch outs, or for exceeding maximum journey times. The off peak equivalent will increase by 10p to £5.30.

Child PAYG flat fares for rail travel in Zones 1 to 6 are frozen at 85p peak and 75p off peak for use on TfL services and those TOCs which use the TfL tariff. Child fares on other TOC routes are priced at half the adult rate.

One Day Tickets and PAYG Caps

The revised prices for 2016 are shown below. Prices and caps typically rise by 10p. There is one important exception to these changes and that concerns stations in Zones 7 to 9. PAYG fares there will increase by 10p in most cases rather than the freeze that applies within Zones 1 to 6 but these increases do fund a substantial cut to Peak Daily Caps. These have been reduced to bring their pricing logic in line with the 1/5th of the 7 day rate principle that was adopted in Zones 1 to 6 in Jan 2015. This means the current peak daily Z19 cap of £20 reduces to £16.90. Passengers in Zone 7, meanwhile, see a huge reduction from £20 to £12.80. Off peak daily caps increase by 10p to £11.90. Note that Zones 7 to 9 retain a price differential between peak and off peak caps which does not apply within Zones 1 to 6.

2016 Prices Anytime Off Peak
Paper Oyster Cap Paper Oyster Cap
Zones 1-2 n/a £6.50 n/a £6.50
Zones 1-3 n/a £7.60 n/a £7.60
Zones 1-4 £12.10 £9.30 n/a £9.30
Zones 1-5 £17.20 £11.00 n/a £11.00
Zones 1-6 £17.20 £11.80 £12.10 £11.80
Zones 1-9 £21.70 £16.90 £12.90 £11.90

Season Tickets

Weekly Travelcard prices increase by around £0.30-£0.80 (approximately 0.9%) depending on the number of zones purchased. There are no changes to the standard multipliers from the 7 day to monthly and annual prices.

Some examples of new prices are set out below.

2016 Prices 7 Day Travelcard
Zones 1-2 £32.40
Zones 1-3 £38.00
Zones 1-4 £46.50
Zones 1-5 £55.20
Zones 1-6 £59.10
Zones 1-9 £84.20
Zones 2-3 £24.30
Zones 2-4 £26.80

Other Details

PAYG fares to some National Rail stations outside of the Greater London area have not been announced as they are not set by TfL. Those to Theobalds Grove, Waltham Cross, Cheshunt, Broxbourne and Brentwood see very little change with only a few off peak fares from the outer zones increasing by 10p. Details are set out in the Fares Direction letter.

The change to the PAYG fare for St Pancras to Stratford International, using South Eastern High Speed services, has not been announced.

On 10 November the Government announced that Oyster PAYG and Contactless Payment Cards would be extended to Gatwick Airport and the intermediate local stations via Redhill from early 2016. Some fares are being reduced as a result of the change. However the overall range of fares is not being simplified which means paper tickets may be cheaper for some journeys. It is also not yet clear how daily or 7 day capping will work with these new destinations. Nor is it clear how the more expensive Gatwick Express fare will be handled in terms of recording the use of this service and in respect of capping calculations.

Alongside the Oyster changes it is worth noting that, in recent months, smart ticketing has been extended on the Thameslink / Great Northern routes with the “Key” smartcard, on C2C with “C2C Smart” and work on extending into London underway on the SWT network too. South Eastern and Abellio Greater Anglia also have ITSO ticketing commitments as part of the Direct Award franchise extensions. Although the ITSO technology does support the Travelcard product and such cards are accepted right across TfL’s network there is not a PAYG product on them that is compatible with TfL’s scheme. There is a PAYG product, KeyGo, on the former Southern Railway network in Sussex. It also allows travel on Metrobus and Brighton and Hove buses in local areas near the main rail lines.

Rezoning Stratford

A change announced many months ago will come into force on 2 January 2016 and that is the rezoning of stations at Stratford. This is a Mayoral initiative to support regeneration in the area and involves revenue compensation to TfL and to Abellio Greater Anglia. The original plan was for Stratford, Stratford International and Stratford High Street to change from being in Zone 3 to becoming Zone 2/3 boundary stations. Subsequently, in addition to confirming the previous announcement, it seems that Star Lane, Abbey Road, West Ham and Canning Town will also move to Z23 from Zone 3.

The Stratford area zoning change will reduce fares and Travelcard prices for an estimated 105,000 travellers per week. The annual cost of this change is estimated to be £8m. The inclusion of the additional stations into the zone is a welcome improvement. As several politicians had pointed out, the originally planned changes were not sensible given the way the Jubilee Line and DLR line to Stratford International would follow what would have been a “waving” zonal boundary line. Now they will form the zonal boundary. For completeness this change means Pudding Mill Lane, East India and Bromley by Bow stations will be entirely into Zone 2.

There are no changes to the time bands for peak PAYG charges – they remain as 0630 to 0930 and 1600 to 1900 Monday to Friday.

There are no changes to the time at which the off peak period starts for One Day Travelcards. It is still 0930 Monday to Friday and all day Saturday, Sunday and on Bank Holidays.

The Oyster Card deposit is unchanged at £5.

Cycle Hire charges

There are no stated changes to charges for the use of the Santander Cycle Hire Scheme. It is understood, however, that TfL are working to introduce Oyster and Contactless Payment Card payment functionality for the Cycle Hire Scheme. No date has been announced as to when this significant upgrade will be completed and made available to the public.

Emirates Air Line fares

The Mayor has announced that the adult PAYG and Travelcard holders fare for a single cross Thames journey on the Emirates Air Line will increase by 10p to £3.50. All other adult and child fares are unchanged.

Written by The Walthamstow Writer